Abstract: Fulcrum Design’s Center for R&D solved the cost benefit conundrum of improving the family experience or suffering the loss of revenue associated with fewer visits due to the added minute and half to add a family the virtual queuing system. This important business decision, is particularly difficult when peak season is only 8 weeks.
What We Discovered: Applying the lean characteristics required to attract and retain local Digital Consumers results in increased revenue, a decrease in (per Digital Consumer) transaction time on the Santa set by 1 to 2 minutes as a result of the digital consumer preference to schedule and pay for their visit online. To put it in perspective, 80% of local consumers are web savvy, we estimate 60% will book online if given the opportunity.
The savings in transaction time associated with 60% of families opting to book online far exceeds the minute and a half required to input a family into Santa Q. Offering the freedom to avoid standing in a long waiting line is the least we can do in turn for solving a difficult and costly dilemma.
How Does It Work
First, the data science behind the break through through Accenture Consulting’s 2015 Digital Customer research and report. The report’s survey revealed 60% of customers are digital-consumers.
The break through results in three important tactics that will require customizing your existing queue system.
1. Offer your customers the digital technology they have come to rely on an such as an Online Customer appointment portal with the capability to purchase online in advance.
2. Offer the virtual same day booking system on the set through our iPad App.
3. Is what makes the magic happen.
They prefer to do most things online. MOSTY IMPORTANTLY is how to configure the software (Contact Brandon to learn more).
Why DIY Online is Hot
The reason -largely due to the “additional time required to have a conversation” with the agent and or work through a phone tree and worst of all is the phone tag to schedule an appointment, when all we really need is the date and time you are available.
40% digital-consumer are typically middle to upper income and ideal market to invest in.
A characteristic of this digital consumer is they expect to pay online as well. That characteristic, eliminate the time it takes to make the purchase on the set with or without a virtual queue. In the least we should offer online booking to your walk up malls. While the walk up guest is paying, the online appointment guest can be visiting Santa. That’s maximizing visits while exceeding guest expectations.
QueueMobile, a SaaS suite of software designed to promote customer satisfaction by eliminating physical waiting lines with virtual waiting lines on premise. We also offer same day appointments through our iPad our iPad kiosk. We now offer the revenue enhancing online appointment booking widget.
Holiday event pop-up operators are a courageous lot. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or Easter they have to maximize, what is usually 4 to 6 weeks to generate a profit while satisfying hordes of stressed out young families, not to mention their clients, typical mall operators. Fulcrum Design developed Event Q a lite weight, high volume virtual queue management system that has been serving the niche sector for Canada to Australia for over 5 years.
There are services environments, that process improvement or structural redesign, cannot entirely resolve waiting in a line, especially at peak times, resulting in overcrowding or long wait times. The agencies or businesses involved, have to balance the cost of benefit of the additional 2 minutes of inputting a party into a virtual waiting line system to mitigate the emotional frustration or leveraging the additional visit volume associated with those 2 minutes to capture additional revenue.
You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Fulcrum Design is a pioneer in the innovation of virtual waiting line solution. In 2010, Mobile Matradee with developed on behalf of Max Restaurant Group, to avoid the costly expense associated with traditional restaurant coaster. Shortly there after Dave & Busters and Top Golf USA were the first national restaurant and entrainment companies to adopt the cell phone pager technology and they choose Mobile Matradee.
Unfortunately, customer retention requires more than the delivery of a service or product. Long, unpredictable wait time result in a negative emotional reaction starting with aniexty, then frustration followed by anger. At this point there is a good chance you lost this customer and the customer has lost repect for management. Examples are Emergency room urgent cares, DMV and seasonal events like Santa sets at the mall.
No other Seasonal event draws a crowd like Santa
QueueMobile, a virtual interactive waiting line system, is the least costly alternative that will generate ROI through enhancing customer flow and customer satisfaction. QueueMobile uses SMS text messaging engagement to create a virtual waiting line. Our virtual lines enables customers to interact with the system, such as reply S to monitor their status QueueMobile or Santa Q, will reply back with a current status demonstrating progress forward in line, now unencumbered to make better use of her time for what matters, shopping.
Queue theory continues to be a popular subject matter of human behavior in sociology. In many cases, if a customer can avoid a line until check out they will continue to shop and spend money. QueueMobile is used across a broad range of service industries from restaurants, college campuses and special marketing events to manage crowd control. Eliminating physical waiting lines with hybrid virtual queue management and appointment booking solutions is what customer want.
Santa Sets the Mall Experience
Commerical event photography companies host Santa and Easter set. They are usually contracted by the malls to provide an annual staple event. Mall Managers take these events very seriously and realize the benefits. However working in a mall over the 8 week holiday season can be challenging considering the placement of the pop-up Santa set. The lighting, electrical and internet capacity are just a few key consideration. Not to mention the family with two or three kids under the age of 7 in line for 45 minutes to get 2 minutes with Santa and a couple of portraits.
Another challenge with the malls, is the technology infrastructure, particularly for web hosted or cloud-based software solutions such as a POS or virtual queue systems relying a shared wifi infrastructure. The free wifi at most malls are lowband and not terribly stable as more customers sign on to the service. The same phenomenon, known as congestion, occurs with the cell towers closest to the mall.
Santa Q Designed to Handle Variable Environments
Santa Q is not your off the self-virtual waiting line system. It runs as an iPad App, designed to work in offline mode and sync back to the cloud when the signal regains its connection. Thanks to Managing Partner Stefan Hutton of Scene to Believe, Santa Q was born out of trail in error Down Under, where in its first season processed over 34,000 families in 8 weeks. Australia is a particular challenge due to the vast antiquated copper telecom infrastructure. SMS comes in one size, standard 10 digit phone numbers, which means 40 x slower than commercial U.S. shortcodes. Santa Q is now configured to rotate 10 digital numbers to maximize the speed of messaging. The application is optimized to work over a 3G Hotspots with minimal latency. Lastly the system is configured with 3 international SMS gateways, which means, the line doesn’t stop on the account of a single gateway going down.
If you think you can benefit from an online appointment system, a virtual waiting line or in of fast, instant and reliable communication system for you staff and stakeholder please don’t hesitate to reach out. Brandon Munson, FACHE
Virtual Waiting Line Management for Retail Stores.
Busy Retailers and consignment shops need Queue Mobile, the Virtual Waiting Line Queue Management System.
A customer survey by Great Clips, a hair salon franchise, discovered retail operators without a queue management system risk losing business. The study revealed customers become dissatisfied when wait times exceed 10 minutes, the number 2 complaint in Great Clips, survey. The survey revealed that 94% of those respondents agreed that a reasonable wait time is less than 10 minutes. Customers become dissatisfied when wait times exceed 10 minutes, the number 2 complaint. The survey revealed that 94% of those respondents agreed that a reasonable wait time is less than 10 minutes.
There is likely a correlation between the number 1 complaint, Rude Staff and the number 2 complaint of Long Wait times. This is where the value proposition of an SMS queue management system compared to traditional queuing systems such as take a ticket system or multiple waiting lines. Virtual Queue Management systems such as Queue Mobile’s Retail Q, may not eliminate the wait time or lower to less than 10 minutes during peak times, however, it creates the perception of not waiting by not restraining the customer to a physical wait. Keeping customers waiting more than 10 minutes may seem a trivial complaint, but it can surely cost retailers. Once a customer makes them wait, 48 percent assume your business is poorly managed, and 52 percent take their business elsewhere.
Why Managing the Waiting Line Experience is Worth the ROI: Today’s society, particularly consumer, expect instant gratification, a bridge too far for e-retailers, which is likely the reason brick and mortar retailers are not extinct, at least not yet. In other words, don’t ignore the wait time complaints, it’s not “a cost of doing a brisk business”, investing in queue management system to satisfy your customer’s during peak times can increase your business b 52% (that’s equal to the percentage that walks away when they see long physical lines). Retail Q by QueueMobile, for example, is much less money and more reliable than increasing labor cost you can’t sustain due to the unpredictability of demand. However, QueueMobile’s analytics can help your staff, by using its reports to find trends in peak times and staffing accordingly.
Fortunately our consumer driven society that expects instant gratification from retail and most other service sectors are willing to go high tech: 87 percent of consumers are willing to use some type of technology if it keeps them from waiting in line at retail stores, and 67 percent would use online check-in or download an app that saved their places in line at a retail business.
I appreciate your post on waiting and how beneficial the Art of Zen is to transcend our suffering through waiting, (waiting in terms of the consumer experience is usually anything more than 8 minutes and we start to lose it).
Is it fair to have such little patience for our retail service sector (who invest heavy in strategies and training to complete on service delivery)?
Furthermore, we think we are Michael Porter and assume (something Dr. Porter doesn’t do) it’s an externality of the service sector, translation, uneducated, low wage, incompetent and careless employees. When in fact it is rarely the root cause. The root cause is demand management, which is the duty of the educated, highly paid retail executives.
Contributing Editor Brandon Munson, FACHE
Restaurant Waiting list technology gets clever thanks to restaurant cell phone pager systems. Say good-bye to impatient and frustrated customers.
Reprint of Sysco Today December edition.